Deer in the Spotlight

white-tailed-deer-fawnMy first experience with the ever-present deer in my new home was the decimation of my beautiful hosta plants.  After they were planted, the deer ate one each night until they were all gone.  It turns out that hosta is like ice cream to deer!

In a casual conversation with my daughter, she mentioned something that she had noticed about the deer in her neighborhood.  She had strung a single string of solar Christmas lights onto one cedar tree, and she left them on it all winter long.  In the spring, she found that the deer had not bothered this tree at all.

When I planted my vegetable garden this year, I bought some solar spotlights to see if I could protect my broccoli from meeting the same fate as my Hostas.  I got cheap lights for about $1 each.  I placed them around my garden, about 8 to 10 feet apart, and I placed one next to each new tree or shrub.  My neighbors all laughed, but I didn’t have any deer damage all summer long.  My neighbors did.

In November when my broccoli was pretty well finished, I pulled up all the solar lights to store them for the winter.  The next morning, the broccoli plants were half as high as they had been!  The following morning, they had been eaten down to the ground.

I have been using solar lights for three years now and I have had no deer damage wherever I use them.  My neighbor put up solar lights last year and they worked for her, too.  Several of our other neighbors have had deer damage during this time.

I now leave a few lights near my shrubs and new plants during the winter.  The deer tracks don’t ever go near them.  Maintenance is not a problem, I just look out my window at night and count the lights.  Occasionally, I need to replace one.  I don’t feel that there is a light pollution problem for the birds, because there are also street lights on all night, and I always keep my spotlights focused down.  There is plenty of bird activity during the day.


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  • Mike63Denver says:

    I loved your article – you invented a good solution. You inspire me to come up with good solutions too. Thank you so much. Having said that I shall be on my merry way always looking for good solutions like that one.

  • grapefarmer says:

    Great idea. Thanks for sharing. I will be trying this immediately!!

  • DaveM says:

    My parents had an apple orchard with deer problems. Most of the usual remedies were suggested. The only one which worked at all was to hang mesh bags of barbershop sweepings (hair) on some of the trees. This slowed the problem down considerably and I think would have eliminated it entirely if we had been able to get more hair.

    Sounds a bit icky, I know, but it worked.

  • One of God's says:

    Not for deer, but just as a matter of convenience we have a solar light directed toward the front of our chicken coop and have seen no evidence of coons which used to be a regular problem since its placement.

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